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April 9, 2024
min read
Noam Yadin

Your guide to Newsletter advertising

Newsletter sponsorships are advertisements that are placed in high-performing, high-engagement newsletters. By getting your brand on newsletters that have a large subscriber base, proven open rates, and high click-through rates, you can reach millions of qualified, potential consumers.

Did you know that 96% of people subscribe to newsletters? 

Think about it like this - with newsletter advertising, your ads are delivered via a source that already has a large email list - people that have opted-in and engaged in all the content offered. As long as you partner with a relevant newsletter that targets the relevant audience, you can expect all eyes on you. 

Here are just a few reasons why newsletter advertising is so effective:

  • Direct reach - not only are newsletter ads impossible to block via ad blockers but they directly reach the inbox of your ideal target audience. 

  • Relevance - If someone leaves their email in order to receive a newsletter, rest assured they are passionate about that topic. So, your ad is being read by an engaged audience and no matter how big or small the niche, there is most likely a newsletter community to match it. 

  • Seamless fit - one of the biggest advantages of newsletter ads is, if done correctly, they can look like normal newsletter content. The more indistinguishable, the higher the engagement rate

  • Analytics - just like with social media campaigns, newsletter brand campaigns can be tracked in order to conclude results. 

  • The best part? It doesn't rely on cookies whatsoever and is therefore sustainable beyond 2023

But, where do you begin? At ThoughtLeaders, we’ve run hundreds of newsletter campaigns for our clients, with some of the biggest publishers in your inbox. That means that we’ve picked up a few tips over the years for how to put together email advertising that work. 

Find newsletters that are relevant to your audience

Easier said than done, right? Wrong! The most obvious way to find newsletters that align with your target audience is by doing a quick search on Google. Jot down the different newsletters that may be relevant to your brand/service. For example, if you are a brand that offers personalized shampoo for women, you may want to look at The Daily Good, The Daily Skimm, or Girls’ Night In

Another key way to pinpoint relevant newsletters is by checking out where your competitors are placing their ads. This tactic may lead you to niches you didn’t initially think about.  

Using our platform, you’ll be able to specify keywords and content categories in order to put together a list of potential newsletters. You can also check out brands and the newsletters they have sponsored in the past in order to give you an even better idea of where you should be focusing your marketing efforts. If it’s worked for your competitor enough that they sponsored that newsletter 14 times in 6 months, it’s likely it can also work for you. Similarly, if you see a brand like yours that had one splashy integration in a newsletter, and then never appeared there again, you’ll know that might be a publication you want to stay clear from. 

Once you’ve decided which publications you are interested in using to promote your brand, you can start listing the newsletters in a planner to start collecting more information about the ad rates.  

Make sure you use your budget strategically

It’s important to align expectations and make sure you are using your budget on integrations that will deliver results. The best way to do this is by calculating expected results according to rates you can offer to the newsletter publishers. The key criteria you should pay attention to are your maximum cost per click (CPC) and maximum cost per lead (CPL) for your campaign budget. It’s also a good idea to consider your landing page conversion rates, to make sure your CPL is realistic. (See below for some tips for optimizing your landing page for best results.) Once you’ve set out these budget parameters, it’s easier to keep track of which placements will help you achieve your KPIs.

Calculate and negotiate the price

After deciding on your campaign goals, it’s time to negotiate with the potential newsletters you want to partner with. Negotiating is a tricky business, so it's important to have all the information - both your KPIs and what they can offer - newsletter subscribers, open rates, number of sends, average CTR on the ad, and of course, the price. Arrange all of this data and work out which of the options will make the most sense for your campaign. 

Once you know what the publisher is offering, you’ll be able to understand the level of success you can hope to achieve with this newsletter- the expected impressions, expected clicks, expected CPC, expected leads, and expected CPL. Our newsletter campaign planner will calculate all of this for you so you can easily see which publications are most likely to hit your campaign goals. 

If there’s a newsletter you love, and that you feel their audience will really resonate with your product, but the numbers aren’t quite lining up for you, feel free to negotiate. Most publishers don’t have an enormous amount of wiggle room (unlike with influencer marketing, with newsletters there is often a whole team responsible for setting the rates.) However, some room for maneuver is always possible, especially if you offer to purchase multiple email sends. On the flip side, you might want to reduce your risk by publishing your ad to only half of their newsletter subscriber list - not all publications can offer this, but it’s always worth enquiring if that reduced cost will make it easier for you to invest. 

How to create a newsletter ad that works: 

Email advertising work when they don’t disrupt the flow of your morning inbox, and when they read like a natural part of the newsletter. When it comes to deciding on the type and format of the advertisement, there are a few options:

  1. Display ads: Banner ads usually sit at the top, middle or bottom of the newsletter and link to the landing page. 
Display ad example
  1. Native ads: These ads match the rest of the newsletter, integrating seamlessly into the content

Native ads example
  1. Text ads: The ads are presented as hyperlinked copy that readers can click
Text ads example

Each format has its own benefits and disadvantages so it's important to consider your KPIs and budget.  

Here are a few strong newsletter brand partnerships that illustrate this point:

Marketing Brew

Marketing Brew is an email newsletter that brings the “latest stories shaping the marketing and advertising landscape”. In their recent email publication, they partnered with #paid - a creator marketing platform. The ad is integrated into the newsletter seamlessly, making it look like just another piece of content. That means that the readers of the newsletter don’t skip over the ad to get back to the content - they read the ad just like they read the rest of the newsletter. 

Marketing Brew example

Front Office Sports

This newsletter combines the world of business and sports, “helping influential business leaders make sense of the business of sports”. They recently partnered with Crocs, the shoe manufacturers. Front Office Sports made the integration even more seamless by not only formatting the ad just like the rest of the content but by adding a catchy header and powerful snippet - “Serious comfort for athletes of all kinds…ever wonder what professional athletes wear when they’re not on the court?”. 

Front office sports example

It’s almost impossible to tell that it's an ad, and this brand has made a strong thematic link with the subject of the newsletter, making their product highly relevant to the newsletter’s audience. 

Once you are thinking about copywriting, don’t forget your landing page!

Remember, you can customize and optimize your landing page for each newsletter placement, to deliver the best results and help personalize the message for your site visitors. For example, if you place a newsletter ad in the Skimm, you can link through to a landing page that is created specifically for that audience, and welcome visitors with custom messaging like “Welcome, Skimmers!” This helps your visitors to feel like they are in the right place, and creates a more seamless conversion experience from the newsletter to your website. 

Newsletter advertising can be highly effective in helping you to reach engaged audiences. If you need any help deciding which newsletters will be the best fit for your current messaging, get in touch and our team can help you look at the data and design a successful newsletter advertisement for your brand. 

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